​Out of all the competition at the League of Legends World Championship play-in stage so far this year, DetonatioN FocusMe has had one of the most impressive performances and shown the most progress for its region, given Japan's small player base and previous performances on international stages.

​​DetonatioN FocusMe hails from one of the smallest regions, the League of Legends Japan League. The Japanese region consisted of less than 1 percent of the game's global player base in 2017 and has notoriously remained one of the smallest regions throughout the game's history. At the professional level, the region consists of only six teams, and as one of those six teams, DetonatioN FocusMe outshined its competition to qualify for worlds this year.


The region has consistently lacked outstanding performances on international stages, including at the Mid-Season Invitational this year, where the Japanese team PENTAGRAM won only a single game during the play-in stage, finishing last below every other region at the tournament. Likewise, the Japanese region failed to pick up a single game in the group stage last year at the 2017 World Championship. 


Given the region's low number of players and performance last year at worlds, some ranked DetonatioN FocusMe among the weakest teams going into worlds, underneath its group opponents KaBuM! e-Sports. 

​​Many viewers anticipated Cloud9 to easily clean sweep its group. The North American team did end the group stage 4-0, but not without a fight from DetonatioN FocusMe. In its game against Cloud9, Detonation FocusMe showcased an excellent performance with top laner Shunsuke "Evi" Murase and mid laner Kyohei "Ceros" Yoshida on the Urgot and ​Zi​ggs pick, respectively. The game appeared to belong to Detonation FocusMe, until a few failed fights in the jungle and red side base turned the game in favor of Cloud9. 


In its games against the third team in its group, KaBuM! e-Sports, DetonatioN FocusMe picked up two wins and dropped only one against the Brazilian team. The team exemplified incredible game control in its game on Wednesday against KaBuM! e-Sports, destroying the enemy nexus with a 10K gold advantage and a 7-0 lead in kills. 


Following its outstanding performance, many viewers are rooting for these underdogs as the Japanese ​League of Legends team continues on to the play-in knockouts, where it will face tough competition against the third seed team from China EDward Gaming. The series will be a best-of-five, and will begin Friday at approximately 4 a.m. ET.


Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games